University of Pittsburgh
Daniel H. Kaplan, PhD is a Professor within the Department of Dermatology and Immunology, University of Pittsburgh. His research is dedicated to understanding the mechanisms that underlie skin immunity and the interplay of different immune cells types that reside in the skin. He has made consistent progress in this area since for approximately 22 years. As a graduate student at Washington University, St Louis he participated in the re-invigoration of the concept of tumor immunosurveillance by observing an increased frequency of skin tumors in immunodeficient mice (Kaplan et al, PNAS 1998). During his post-doc at Yale University, he developed a number of mouse lines with a selective deficiency of Langerhans cells (LC) and showed that these cells have the unexpected capacity to suppress tissue immune responses (Kaplan et al. Immunity, 2005). As an Assistant and later Associate professor at the University of Minnesota, he found that LC and dermal dendritic cells have unique functions in the development of anti-pathogen responses (Igyarto et al, Immuntiy 2011; Kashem et al, Immunity 2015a). He has also focused on the contribution of non-hematopoetic cells to skin immunity. We found that pain-sensing nerves are required innate immune responses (Kashem et al., Immunity 2015b). In collaboration with David Masopust, we have shown that keratinocytes determine LC migration and epidermal residency of resident memory T cells (Mohammed et al., Nature Immunology 2016). Currently the focus of the lab is understanding how intracellular communication mechanisms between immune cells and non-hematopoietic cells in the skin modulate cutaneous immunity and skin disease
Research Focus: The skin is a barrier organ that is exposed to a wide variety of potential pathogens including bacteria, fungi and viruses. Within the skin there are numerous components of both the innate and adaptive immune system. The research focus of my lab is to understand how these skin resident immune cells (e.g. dendritic cells, T cells) interact with specific pathogens and other non-immune cells in the skin (e.g. keratinocytes and neurons) to contribute to the development of both innate and adaptive immune responses that provide host protection.